Everyone knows that Yates is leaving. Everyone knows that our governor, a man who has moved Colorado schools to the bottom of the list, has publicly supported a “Good Ol’ Boy,” and personal friend, who is hoping to become our next university president. We all know that this man has the educational background equivalent to the 20,000 plus undergraduate students who attend CSU.
What we don’t know is: this has happened before. Yes my friends, political cronies have been appointed to the presidency before. And no, I’m not talking about George W.
I’m talking about Hank Brown, former president of the University of Northern Colorado. As many know, Hank Brown was a former Colorado senator and represented our state for one term (1990-1996). Then he disappeared into political oblivion only to resurface a couple of years later taking over the helm at UNC in 1998.
Much has changed since then.
Brown’s “bottom-line” profit-driven belief became well known at UNC; too well known for many students and staff. Funding was cut. Services became limited. Community outcry became louder.
Let’s look at some of Brown’s moves at UNC and see how a businessman and politician, who had no experience in education let alone experience in higher education, might affect life here at CSU.
Funding for Student Media was decreased and the student run newspaper, The Mirror, was almost eliminated. Brown was at the center of the KUNC debacle and pulled more funding from the station when it needed it most, eventually leading to the sale of public radio. Take away the voice of the students, take away their power.
Budget cuts caused a rollback in services at the Child Care Center at UNC and over $100,000 had been cut from the University’s Health Center. Cost of a doctor visit went from $6 to $15 and was feared to rise up to $60 per visit. Should CSU’s Hartshorn Health Center experience funding cuts, you can bet it will cost a lot more for a visit.
With Hartshorn already experiencing low budgets, how can medical services be expected to remain the same or increase with no funding? Should medical costs rise and students seek out medical help in the outside community, is Fort Collins ready to absorb the additional the health needs of 24,000 students?
“Unnecessary” offices and positions were closed, like their Division of Student Affairs. How many people at CSU know that Colorado State has one of the top three Student Affairs programs in the nation? How many people know what this division does? Advocacy offices (Black Student Services, El Centro, etc.) as well as the Ombudsman’s office, Greek Life, Campus Activities, Career Center, Counseling Center, HELP/Success Center and Recreational Sports are all contained in this division. So what will happen if this is eliminated? Well, the Counseling Center at UNC now reports to Facilities Management. I’m not joking.
There are also rumors that the Marcus Harvey Cultural Center as well as Native American Student Services at UNC might shut down because of budget cuts.
Enrollment decreased. Funding to the Education and Performing Arts Departments, two of the most highly respected programs at UNC, decreased dramatically. What would happen if nationally ranked programs like our school of agriculture should experience similar budget cuts and instead see that money flooding into the business college, much like what happened in Greeley? It would make the business students happy but our school would lose the credibility and recognition it has gained in recent years. That would make ALL of us unhappy.
If we allow the fox to be let loose in the henhouse, we’re putting ourselves in a world of hurt. This is a university, not a business. We need someone who is concerned for the students and educational policies, not for their own political advancement. We cannot privatize our school.